N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, issued the following statement on Thursday in the wake of the retirement of one of cricket’s modern greats “I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play Buchi Babu in Chennai.

He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced. In fact one should really say he ranks among the top of all time great sports persons in the world. No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has.

He has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian cricket. He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can't imagine an Indian team without Sachin.”

PTI adds

Tendulkar on Thursday announced his decision to retire from Test cricket after playing in his landmark 200th match against the West Indies next month, bringing an end to the intense speculation about his future.

Srinivasan, back as the BCCI president after a Supreme Court ruling, said Tendulkar has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian cricket.

“No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has. He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can’t imagine an Indian team without Sachin,” he said.

The 40-year-old Tendulkar, who has not been in the best of form in recent times, has informed the BCCI about his decision to quit Test cricket after a glorious career spanning 24 years.

“Sachin contacted us and he wanted the BCCI to issue a press release on his behalf. He called me today and said he would be sending me a mail which he wanted us to issue,” informed Srinivasan.

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel recited lines of poetry to bid an emotional farewell to Tendulkar and wished him good luck for his future endeavours.

“’If you start your course with all your force, every source of nature will turn towards and help you, To achieve your true success’ This holds so true for one of our finest players, master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar,” said Patel.

“With mixed feelings of joy and sorrow, joy for his excellent performances during his career, and the sorrow of bidding him goodbye after his 200th Test, I wish him good luck for all his future endeavours,” he added.

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